On Tuesday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to consider a court-monitored floor test and get back to them by Wednesday. The apex court had on April 27 pronounced that President’s rule in the state of Uttarakhand would continue till it pronounces judgement on the Centre’s plea challenging the Uttarakhand High Court’s judgement on the issue. Though that statement implied that the floor test in assembly on April 29 would stand cancelled, the two-judge bench consisting of Justice Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh were of the opinion that the answer to the current situation could be solved if a floor test is conducted. Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, who appears for the Centre, was thus asked to mull over the suggestions given by the court. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on April 22 had stayed the judgement of Uttarakhand High Court which had quashed the President’s rule in the state.
ALSO READ Supreme Court stays Uttarakhand HC order of lifting President’s RulePresident’s rule in UttarakhandOn March 18, 2016 during passing of the state Budget, rebel 9 MLAs of Congress joined hand with opposition and asked for a division of vote. If the budget failed to pass, Harish Rawat govt would have fallen as it was a money bill. But the speaker refused division of vote and passed the budget by voice vote.
ALSO READ After bouquets, crisis returns for Harish Rawat in UttarakhandThe rebels immediately went to the governor and sought the dismissal of Rawat govt. Much political turmoil ensued and finally on March 27, 2016, on the advice of the Union cabinet, Article 356 was imposed by the President in Uttarakhand. According to Arun Jaitley, democracy was murdered by speaker in the Assembly whereas Congress interpreted it as BJP forcefully imposing President’s rule in the state. Uttarakhand High Court’s take on the issue
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: High Court to resume hearing on rebel Congress MLAs’ petition todayWhen the matter of President’s rule in Uttarakhand was taken to the High Court, the bench consisting of Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice VK Bist, said “even the President can go wrong”. It added, “There is no king or absolutism. Howsoever high you are, the law is above you. Legitimacy of relevant inference drawn from the material that is placed before the President is open to judicial review”.A day after this, according to the judgement passed by the High Court, the Congress government in the state led by Harish Rawat was revived. However, the Supreme Court on April 22 stayed the judgement of Uttarakhand High Court. The Premise in Arunachal PradeshOn January 26, 2016, President’s rule was imposed in Arunachal Pradesh on various grounds, including dissidence. Governor JP Rajkhowa mentioned cow slaughter, threats and an episode with Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s council of ministers that almost resulted in physical assault as some of the reasons for the imposition of President’s rule in the state. The Governor had sent six reports to the President claiming that ‘Constitutional machinery has broken down in the state’. However, the primary reason that was stated for the move was that the party had split in December, wherein 21 of its members had teamed up with 11 BJP members and ousted the Speaker and the Chief Minister in two assembly sessions. On the basis of the report submitted by the Governor, the apex court took up the case for hearing. Supreme Court’s stand on President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh When the apex court of the country was approached in this matter, their stand was clear – the Governor of a state holds ‘complete immunity’ and thus would not be answerable to the judiciary for a decision taken in their official capacity. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, in the course of argument drew the bench’s attention to Article 361 (1) of the Indian Constitution, which protects the President and the Governor from legal action. The clause verbatim states that, ‘The President, or the Governor or Rajpramukh of a State, shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those powers and duties’. Once Supreme Court weighed in on the legality of the matter, a floor test was conducted which helped Kalikho Pul assume office as the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, which led to the withdrawal of President’s rule in the state.Uttarakhand: The Apex Court steps inBased on the apex court’s stand on April 22, Rawat had to step down again.Since, the apex court did not have the verdict copy of the High Court on the day it was first slated for hearing, it stayed the Uttarakhand High Court judgement. The case was then listed for hearing on April 27. The bench had then recorded Rohatgi’s undertaking which said, “Union of India shall not revoke the Presidential proclamation till the next date of hearing”.So what now?Supreme Court in its previous hearing had stated that they would want to wind up this issue before the court breaks for Summer vacation on May 16. However, as stated earlier, the Supreme Court in its last sitting has suggested that President’s rule could temporarily be lifted for two days to conduct the floor test, which could aid the court in making a decision.Looking at court’s attitude, it does look like a floor test will be held sooner or later in Uttarakhand. Whether the 9 dissenting MLAs are allowed to take part may decide the fate of Harish Rawat.
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